Two years after believing his career was over, Tiger Woods held his nerve on a wonderfully chaotic final day at Augusta National to win his 15th major title, and a first in 11 years, in the 83rd Masters.
Amid a dizzying series of twists and turns, Woods carded a closing 70 to finish 13 under par, one shot ahead of Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka, the reigning US Open and US PGA champion.
Overnight leader Francesco Molinari was two clear with seven to play but dumped his tee shot on the 12th into Rae’s Creek and also double-bogeyed the 15th, the Open champion having to settle for a tie for fifth with Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and Jason Day on 11 under.
“I think I made a few new fans with those double bogeys,” Molinari admitted with a rueful smile, well aware that the vast majority of fans had come hoping to see Woods claim a fifth Green Jacket and his first since 2005.
They duly saw the 43-year-old win a major after trailing heading into the final round for the first time, an incredible 3,954 days since he beat Rocco Mediate in a play-off for the 2008 US Open for his last major.
Congratulations, Tiger! To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 14, 2019
Former US president Barack Obama was among those to congratulate Woods on his victory.
“To have my kids there, it’s come full circle. My dad was here in ’97 and now I’m the dad with two kids there.”
Tiger Woods embraced his late father Earl after his Masters win in 1997. This time he was the father embracing son Charlie and daughter Sam.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas both made a hole-in-one on the 16th, but a birdie was good enough for Tiger Woods to double his lead at a crucial moment.
Final leaderboard at the 2019 Masters:
1. @TigerWoods, -13 🏆
2. @DJohnsonPGA, -12
2. @XSchauffele, -12
2. @BKoepka, -12
5. @JDayGolf, -11
5. @WebbSimpson1, -11
5. @F_Molinari, -11
5. @TonyFinauGolf, -11
9. @JonRahmPGA. -10
9. Patrick Cantlay, -10
It has to be Woods again, who effectively sealed the win in typical Masters fashion with birdies on the par-five 13th as well as the 15th and the 16th.
Tiger Woods World Ranking
Entering 2017 Hero World Challenge: 1,199
After winning 2019 Masters: 6— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) April 14, 2019
Former Golf Channel statistician Justin Ray highlights the amazing change in Woods’ world ranking since he returned to action.
As more than one player could ruefully attest, the par-three 12th hole played the most difficult with a swirling wind contributing to eight bogeys, seven double bogeys and two triple bogeys for a scoring average of 3.338.
The par-five 13th again played as the easiest hole with four eagles, 36 birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey meaning it played to an average of 4.40.
The chances of Rory McIlroy playing next year’s Valero Texas Open. McIlroy said after a closing 68 he was not sharp enough at Augusta after taking the week off beforehand.
The bookmakers’ prices on Tiger Woods equalling or surpassing Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors after he claimed his 15th. Woods has won majors before at the US PGA venue of Bethpage Black and the US Open venue Pebble Beach.
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